I am reading Revelation with my Wednesday morning coffee group. I encouraged them to read it through in one sitting. I made my read on Sunday afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed it. Revelation is a text full of encouragement on how to walk with Jesus in a world where it doesn’t appear that He has won or is winning. I am astonished that it is the actual revelation of Jesus Christ to His churches. I am thankful that it comes via the pastoral heart of John.
I made my first reading of Revelation as a teenager, 13 or 14 years old. I remember being enraptured by the imagery of the text. Why it competed with that of Lord of the Rings! As well I was also taken with fear that perhaps I might be the one who was somehow complicit with the Devil’s rebellion against Jesus. Besides my fearful self-centered reading I was also deeply influenced by questions of when all this was happening and when Jesus was coming back and who all the national or global players in the events described might be.
I have read the text many times and with each reading I take heart with the promise that by simply reading it I will experience the blessings of God. “Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” Revelation 1:3 NIV I do find that I take it to heart. However, my concern is not so much for when this all happens but for who it all happens. I want to know and live for my Lord Jesus Christ who has pulled back the curtain on a reality that He knows but I miss.
It is easy to read the Revelation of Jesus Christ and fear that pain and persecutions would be the death of faith and the church. However that does not appear in the text as the greatest challenge to those who claim the name of Jesus. Complaceny is the greatest challenge. The “letters to the churches” set the scene for us to get a glimpse of how quickly the heart is drawn away from attentive devotion and obedience to Christ the Lord. I believe the rest of the text then calls us back to Jesus by giving us a glimpse of the “end game” to which all of humanity is hurteling.
Through our journey through Revelation I am now reading Darrell Johnson’s Discipleship on the Edge; An Expository Journey Through the Book of Revelation. I invite you to pick up your own copy and join in on the conversation.